Today, we have another Google update for you. This time it’s Google Maps that are seeing changes. Now, users can message a business via their listing on the Google Maps App.
What Started This?
Last year, Google My Business (GMB) introduced a messaging feature. This was different though. With the GMB messaging feature, messages could only be sent in the form of SMS texts. So, there’s no doubt that this was still a useful update, in terms of making it even easier for people to contact businesses. However, the new messaging feature also had its fair share of critics.
Because the messages were sent as SMS text messages, it opened up the risk of mixing personal conversations with business conversations.
I mean, the last thing that you would want is to send a message to a business that was meant to go to your mum…
Enter Google Maps messaging!
How Does Google Maps Messaging Work?
Say you’re trying to get in contact with a business you’re interested in. But, you can’t give them a call as you’re walking down the street and it’s too noisy. Going on the Google Maps app not only shows you where the business is, which is always useful, but it also gives you the option to send them a message. This then stays within the app. So there’s no risk of accidentally sending that ‘Mum, are you and the old man still coming over for tea tonight?’ text to the company called ‘Mumbles’, who you are waiting to hear back from on a replacement pair of headphones…
Here’s a little video from Google’s blog which shows you what this new feature looks like;
As you can see, the process of messaging businesses is now effortless. Plus, it’s available to use on both iOS and Android!
How To Set Up Google Maps Messaging For My Business?
If you’re a business and like the sound of this new update to Maps, then I urge you to get on board! It makes your business even more accessible.
To get the ‘message’ feature on your business profile on the Google Maps app, there are three things you need to do.
1. Create a verified Google My Business account
If you don’t already have one, take a look at our ‘How to Set Up Google My Business‘ blog to see exactly how to do it.
2. Download the GMB app
This is a nice and easy step. All you need to do is search ‘Google My Business’ in your smart phone’s app store, and download it! This is what it will look like;
3. Turn Messaging on
This final step involves just three taps on the GMB app. Here to walk you through those three taps is a finely animated pointy finger. Just follow the finger…
It’s as easy as that!
Managing Your Messages
Now you know how to set the messaging feature up, you may be wondering how you actually manage your messages. Because what good is it receiving messages, if you don’t know how to find or respond to them? Not very good at all, is the answer to that.
So to view messages and respond to them, you’re going to need to be back on the GMB app. From here, you will need to tap on the ‘Customers’ option at the bottom of the screen.
You should then see three tabs: Reviews, Messages and Followers. It’s the ‘Messages’ tab that you want to be on.
The screen you are on now is basically your inbox. This is where you will find the details for anyone who has messaged you, along with the message itself and the time and date it was sent.
Obviously, all you need to do to respond to these messages is tap on the message and type away. That’s all there is to it. Nice and easy, right?
But wait! There are a couple of drawbacks…
The negatives to bear in mind
For some reason, Google have made it so that this messaging feature is only available on mobile devices. That includes everything from sending a message as a customer, through to viewing and replying to messages as a business. So, even if you spend most of your working day at a computer or laptop, you will still pick up your phone now and then. Which brings me on to the other issue; notifications.
There is no way to setup notifications for messages to your business. Even if you navigate to the notifications section in the settings on your GMB account, you won’t find an option for messages. This one we really don’t get. We can’t think of any other online messaging feature that doesn’t notify you when you have received a message. Yet, Google of all companies, couldn’t manage a notification setting. What this means is that you will need to keep a check on your Google My Business message inbox on a regular basis; ideally daily if you know that people are finding you online already!
There you have it! That’s pretty much all there is to know about the new messaging feature on the Google Maps app.